emerging 2020

Emerging Artist Festival 2020- Vermont Jazz Center

Time & Location

  • Nov 20-21, 2020
  • 7:00 pm
  • Livestream Brattleboro, VT 05301 US

About the Performance


Friday Nov. 20 and Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020

Upcoming Events

The Emerging Artist Festival for 2020 celebrates young musicians making an impact in today’s jazz scene. This year’s featured artists include Samara Joy McLendon, Pasquale Grasso and Lakecia Benjamin.

Vocalist Samara McLendon won the Sarah Vaughan International Vocal Contest in 2019.

Italian guitarist, Pasquale Grasso has been lauded by Pat Metheny as “one of the best guitarists I’ve ever heard.”

Alto saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin won the 2019 Downbeat Critic’s Poll Rising Star Award as well as the Jazz Journalist’s Award for Up and Coming Jazz Musician of the Year.

A new highlight for this year’s festival is the presentation of 5-minute videos from college, high school and youth jazz ensembles.

We will present videos from approximately ten student groups performing in situations that reflect the creativity of working within the limits of social distancing protocols – outdoor settings, videos where the musicians are all in different locations, and entire bands performing from schools that quarantine together.

Livestreaming for this event is cost-free and open to the public. Donations to the Vermont Jazz Center will be gratefully accepted.

DAY 1: Friday, November 20th

Pasquale Grasso Trio Featuring Samara Joy McLendon
7:30 pm (EST) Short videos from Regional Institutions

    UNH – Durham, NH, Mark Shilansky, Dir.
    Amherst College Combo –David Picchi and Carl Clements, Dir.
    Vermont Academy – Saxton’s River, VT – Steve Cady, Dir.
    Keene State College – Keene, NH – Steve Cady, Dir.

 8:00 pm CONCERT

Opening Video: Shania Smith (Dartmouth College)

Pasquale Grasso Trio Featuring Samara Joy McLendon

Samara Joy McLendon (vocals), Pasquale Grasso (guitar) Ari Roland (bass), Keith Balla (drums).

DAY 2: Saturday, November 21st

Lakecia Benjamin Quartet

7:00 pm Short Videos from Regional Institutions

    North Country Union High School – Newport, VT, William Prue, Dir.
    UMass, Amherst – Amherst, MA, Jeff Holmes, Dir.
    UVM – Burlington, VT, Tom Cleary, Dir.
    Harwood Union High School – Moretown, VT, Bruce Sklar, Dir.


Lakecia Benjamin and Eugene Uman come together to discuss her recent project dedicated to the music and profound influences of Alice and John Coltrane.

8:00 pm CONCERT

Opening Video- PVPA – Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter High School – Frank Newton, Dir.

Lakecia Benjamin Quartet

Exclusive footage of concert filmed in NYC with Benjamin on alto saxophone, Zaccai Curtis, piano, Lonnie Plaxico, bass. EJ Strickland, drums. Ms. Benjamin and her quartet were filmed performing music from her new, highly acclaimed album, Pursuance.

For this concert we celebrate the memory of Jonathan Flaccus, a staunch patron of the arts and a person who always advocated for the young and disenfranchised.

Marcy Hermansader continues to follow through with Jonathan’s vision; this is the second Emerging Artist Festival she has sponsored in his memory.

We are grateful beyond measure for her support and for the tradition that Jonathan so generously established during his lifetime.

Publicity is underwritten by The Commons, The Brattleboro Reformer, WVPR, WVEW, WNPR, NEPR and WFCR and is grateful for grant support from the Vermont Arts Council and the Vermont Humanities Council.

Event Organizer

Ginger Morawski info@vtjazz.org 8022549088